Birmingham is one of the UK’s most diverse and exciting cities and Quingo Scooters is heading there this week as part of our Accessible Getaways blog series.
Considering that it is England’s second biggest city, we think that Birmingham is sometimes overlooked. But over the past decade or so it has shaken off some of the dust of its industrial past. Today, more and more visitors are now discovering what this diverse and fascinating city has to offer. From world class eateries (it has five Michelin starred restaurants!) to some spectacular modern architecture, great shopping and a vibrant nightlife, Birmingham is well worth a visit for a day trip or more. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Shop, shop, shop!
As you’d expect from one of the biggest cities in the UK, the opportunities for a spot of retail therapy in Birmingham are pretty much endless. But it isn’t just about the usual high street shops (which of course you will find in the love-it-or-hate-it Bullring centre): there are also plenty of interesting independent shops to keep you busy. So, we really recommend taking a break from the Bullring and heading instead to the gorgeous Great Western Arcade and the Piccadilly Arcade. They are both packed to the rafters with plenty of quirky local, independent shops and they are also just beautiful spaces to spend time in and explore. Go for the shops, stay for the great architecture.
For both arcades, you can park at the nearby Snow Hill car park which is free for Blue Badge holders.
Expand your mind at ThinkTank
Birmingham’s very own science museum is a great place to spend a few hours, especially if you have the kids with you. Science museums have certainly come a long way from the days of stuffy glass cases and boring exhibits, and ThinkTank is a truly inspiring and fascinating space for all ages. It has also been designed with the needs of all visitors in mind, and is completely accessible for everyone. The team behind it have laid everything out so that all of the exhibits are accessible and it is always easy to move around the museum itself, with plenty of space and all of the exhibits at the right height. It is easy to get to as well, with free Blue Badge parking close by, in the multi-story behind the museum itself.
Grab some street food at the Digbeth Dining Club
The term ‘melting pot’ could have been invented for Birmingham. It is a fantastically diverse collection of communities who have all brought their own unique tastes and traditions to the city’s vibrant foodie scene. So, if you’re looking to try some top quality and tasty street food, then get yourself along to the Digbeth Dining Club. It’s a regular celebration of an incredible range of foods that takes place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. There are regular events, usually with a spot of live music to go along with your meal. It’s well worth taking a look at their events page as well, to see what’s on when you’re planning to drop by.
A chocoholic’s dram
No trip to Birmingham is complete without a visit to Cadbury World. Cadbury have been making chocolate since 1824, and that little business first set up by John Cadbury all those years ago has now expanded into the second-largest confectionery brand in the world after Mars. Cadbury World, as you’ve probably guessed, is a celebration of all things sweet and chocolatey, so it might not be to everyone’s taste.
But it is a great day out for the family: there are accessible spaces in the 4D cinema (where you can ‘dive’ into a bowl of liquid Dairy Milk!) and a fascinating exhibition that reveals how some of Cadbury’s most famous brands are made. We also loved the Bull Street exhibit, that takes you back to John Cadbury’s original shop. There is ramped and lift access throughout, as well as low level exhibits to enjoy. Take a look at their accessibility page here for more details. Cadbury World has its own car park with free spaces for visitors.
Breathe in the air at the Botanical Gardens
These beautiful gardens were first planned out in the 1830s, and they still provide a wonderful space to relax and explore for visitors, only a mile or so from Birmingham city centre. There are four stunning glasshouses, recreating different environments from tropical rainforests to deserts.
Most of the site, including the glasshouses, is accessible, and it is possible to hire mobility scooters from the team there too. Just give them a call on 0121 454 1860 beforehand to check availability. There is also a map available at reception which shows the paths around the gardens that are fully accessible. Take a look at their dedicated accessibility page here to find out more.
Birmingham is a wonderfully accessible city. It is worth starting to plan your visit at the city’s dedicated accessibility page here. You’ll find information and links to useful information on everything from how to get around to details of the city’s Blue Badge parking. There is also a dedicated parking information page here. The DisabledGo page for Birmingham is also a great resource with information on many different venues and attractions around the city.
Getting to Birmingham
Getting to Birmingham is easy. It’s in the middle of the country and is well served by road, rail and air. If you’re driving, then take your pick from the M5, M6, M40, M42 or even the M1. If you take junction 6 of the M6 motorway then you’ll even get to experience the iconic Spaghetti Junction first hand: an interchange which somehow manages to combine the A38, A38(M), the A5127, the M6, two railway lines, three canals, and two rivers. If that all sounds a little bit too much, then the train is also a great option: there are regular services into the newly refurbished New Street Station from across the country. Finally, over 50 airlines fly in and out of Birmingham Airport, which is close by the M42.
About Quingo Scooters
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
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All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 308478.